Arkansas Casino Operators Aim to Launch Mobile Sportsbooks by March Madness

Arkansas Casino Operators Aim to Launch Mobile Sportsbooks by March Madness
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Casino operators in Arkansas were granted the right to launch mobile operations Friday, but none of the state’s trio of casinos will have their mobile sportsbooks ready for opening day.

Representatives of Saracen Casino Resort, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and Southland Casino Racing all told BetArkansas.com they would roll out their mobile operations at differing points this year.

The trio decided to finetune their offerings and not rush deployment, meaning Arkansas sports betting customers will have to wait a little longer for full mobile access.

Who Will Be Ready to Launch Come March Madness?

The 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, or March Madness, is slated to begin March 15, a week after the SEC Tournament takes place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, from March 9-13.

Arkansas figures to be the lone in-state team to qualify for the tournament, thanks to winning 14 of their last 15 games and sitting in a tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference standings at 13-4.

The Razorbacks are currently pegged to be a five-seed in the 2022 tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Last season, Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 16 years.

Betting on the Arkansas Razorbacks is expected to be a major shot in the arm for the state’s fledgling sports betting marketplace, given the loyal following the team has.

The only Arkansas casino that expects to have its mobile application in place and ready to roll by the opening round of the tournament is Saracen Casino Resort in Pine Bluff, which is in the final verification steps of getting its mobile product out the door, per Chief Market Officer Carlton Saffa.

Saffa told BetArkansas.com in an email Saracen would have its BetSaracen application in place and ready to accept wagers by the time the NCAA Tournament tips off on the 15th.

“Arkansas’ launch, at least from Saracen’s perspective, is almost warp speed,” Saracen told BetArkansas.com in an email. “Where Tennessee took months from legalization to launch and Louisiana took over a year, we are looking at a legalization to launch in mere weeks. Saracen’s app is complete, we are awaiting app store approvals and payment processor okays. Saracen will launch a first-class product, we will launch it fully vetted and secure, and Arkansans will be able to book bets for March Madness.”

The current push for mobile sports wagering in Arkansas began in November 2021 and received final approval on Feb. 22.

Oaklawn Expects to Be Ready in Spring of 2022

Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith told BetArkansas.com the Hot Springs casino operator would launch its mobile application, which is under development with vendor GAN, in the next quarter, between April and June.

“We believe the addition of mobile sports wagering is exciting for Arkansas,” Smith said in an email to BetArkansas.com. “We took a more conservative approach and waited for the Racing commission and the legislature to give their approval before we started working with our vendor GAN in getting our mobile platform ready.”

Smith said the property’s mobile application would be a top-notch product that would make residents of the Natural State proud, even if they had to wait until well after the final whistle sounds on the Final Four to place a wager on it.

“Our mobile platform will mirror the same wagering menu Oaklawn offers its guests on property, which rivals any national brands menu out today,” Smith said. “Oaklawn Sports will be the brand Arkansans trust just like we are today with Oaklawn Anywhere.”

Southland to Feature Betly Sportsbook App

West Memphis’ Southland Casino Resort and its Betly Sportsbook application will be ready for residents in the next few weeks, according to Marketing Manager Natalie Carlson.

“Many patrons are already using the Betly Sportsbook kiosks at Southland,” Carlson told BetArkansas.com. “The downloadable app will be a familiar extension of our sports betting experience and allow them to continue to play easily at home and elsewhere in the state.”

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Contributors

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetArkansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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